Breaking It All Down

Events expert Scott Barnes helps brides figure out how much to spend on catering and the venue on their Big Day.

Question: We really want to organize our budget before we start planning our wedding, and I’ve always heard that the catering and venue costs make up a huge chunk of a total wedding budget. Is there a percentage I should set aside for those costs, as a general rule? It would make figuring out how everything else is going to work into it much easier.

Answer: “On average, I would forecast for anywhere between 50-60 percent [of the budget] for venue, food and beverage,” says Scott Barnes, sales consultant for Philadelphia’s Starr Events. But of course, he says, “Every bride and groom is different. I always ask the couple what component is most important to them.” (For some couples, for whom that might not be the food or venue, a significantly smaller percentage of their budget will be allotted towards the food and space.)

And on the other hand, if you and your to-be are self-proclaimed foodies, your budget could go up from the norm — even climbing up to 80 percent of your total budget, depending mostly upon menu choices, food costs and the grandiosity of a space. Seemingly small things, like adding intermezzos or cheese plates or offering rolled to-order-sushi versus pre-rolled sushi can really add up. In the end it comes down to your preference, and what you want your wedding to offer. — Chelsea Solitrin


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